Chicago police release 2 men questioned in Smollett case

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police released without charges two Nigerian brothers arrested on suspicion of assaulting “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett and said they have new evidence to investigate as a result of questioning them.

“The individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a brief statement late Friday.

He gave no details of the new evidence.

Smollett, who is black and gay, has said two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” beat him and looped a rope around his neck early on Jan. 29 before running away. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him.

Smollett, 36, said he was out getting food at a Subway sandwich shop in downtown Chicago when the attack happened.

A spokeswoman for Smollett said she had no comment on the release of the two men Friday.

The two men, identified only as Nigerian brothers, were picked up at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Wednesday on their return from Nigeria after police learned at least one worked on “Empire,” Guglielmi said. He said he did not know what the man’s job was.

Guglielmi also said police searched the Chicago apartment where the men lived. But he said he had no information on what was found.

Police have said they found no surveillance video of an attack but continue to look. Investigators also said they were contacting stores in the hope of finding out who bought the rope that was around Smollett’s neck.

But police earlier this week said there was “no evidence to say that this is a hoax” and that Smollett “continues to be treated by police as a victim, not a suspect.”

In an interview with ABC News, the singer and actor said he didn’t remove the rope from around his neck before police arrived “because I wanted them to see.”

Smollett also said he initially refused to give police his cellphone because the device contained private content and phone numbers. He later gave detectives heavily redacted phone records that police have said are insufficient for an investigation.


See AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case:

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Illinois man being fired from job fatally shoots 5 workers

AURORA, Ill. (AP) — A man being fired from his job started shooting at a suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse, killing five co-workers and wounding five police officers before he was killed by police.

Police say 45-year-old Gary Martin had been working at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois, for 15 years and was being terminated Friday.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman says authorities don’t yet know if the employees firing him were among the victims. A sixth worker was taken to a hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening. A sixth police officer suffered a knee injury at the scene.

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Trump declares emergency at border after stinging defeat

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border after a stinging budget defeat. Trump is moving to secure more money for his long-promised wall by exercising a broad interpretation of his presidential powers that is certain to draw stiff legal challenges.

In his emergency proclamation Friday, Trump painted a picture of the border as “a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics” and one that threatens “core national security interests.” Overall, though, illegal border crossings are down from a high of 1.6 million in 2000.

His declaration instantly transformed a contentious policy fight into a foundational dispute over the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution, spurring talk of a congressional vote to block Trump.

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Trump emergency declaration faces fights in the courts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Let the lawsuits begin.

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency along the southern border and predicted his administration would end up defending it all the way to the Supreme Court.

That might have been the only thing Trump said Friday that produced near-universal agreement.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced its intention to sue less than an hour after the White House released the text of Trump’s declaration.

Nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen has filed suit in federal court. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several Democratic state attorneys general already have said they might go to court.

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RPS 205 teacher creates Black History Month display

ROCKFORD (WREX) – A teacher at one Stateline school is aiming to show her students the importance of Black History Month with a display.

Conklin Elementary School teacher Tiffany Russey created a Black History Month display for her classroom door. Russey says she saw other African American teachers create murals online and was prompted by other co-workers to try and create one. The display includes pictures of some of the most famous African Americans in history as well as several quotes.

“You can’t go forward without looking through your past to get that inference and that information that you need,” said Russey. “So I want them to go, ‘hey you don’t just have Washington and Abraham Lincoln to learn about.’ There’s other people that did things just like them and they look just like you and I want you to learn about them too.”

Russey says she hopes other teachers use the display as a vehicle to drive some of their instruction throughout the year.

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Key moments in actor Jussie Smollett’s Chicago attack

CHICAGO (AP) — “Empire” actor and R&B singer Jussie Smollett told Chicago police last month that two men physically attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs.

Some key moments in the story:

Jan. 29

—Jussie Smollett tells Chicago police he was physically attacked by two men in downtown Chicago while out getting food from a Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. The black and openly gay actor tells authorities the men used racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an “unknown substance” on him. Police say Smollett told detectives that the attackers yelled he was in “MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan that some critics of Trump have decried as racist and discriminatory.

Jan. 30

—Chicago police say they’ve reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none of the videos show the attack. Police obtain and release images of two people they would like to question.

—Reports of Smollett’s attack draw outrage and support on social media, including from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Jan. 31

—Trump tells reporters at the White House that he saw a story the night before about Smollett and that, “It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.”

—Smollett’s family issues a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime. Smollett’s family says he “has told the police everything” and “his story has never changed,” disputing assertions leveled on social media that he has been less than cooperative and changed his story.

Feb. 1

—Smollett issues a statement telling people that he is OK and thanking them for their support. He says he is working with authorities and has been “100 percent factual and consistent on every level.”

Feb. 2

—Smollett gives a concert in West Hollywood, California , opening with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn’t let his attackers win.

Feb. 12

— Chicago police say Smollett turned over some, but not all, of the phone records detectives requested as part of their investigation. Police say the heavily redacted files aren’t sufficient. Smollett says he redacted information to protect the privacy of contacts and people not relevant to the attack.

Feb. 13

— Chicago police pick up two Nigerian brothers at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on their return from Nigeria after police learned at least one worked on “Empire.” They questioned them and searched their apartment.

Feb. 14

— Chicago detectives say the two are the “persons of interest” from surveillance video.

— Chicago police say reports that the attack against Smollett was a hoax are unconfirmed .

— Producers of “Empire” dispute media reports that Smollett’s character was being written off the show.

Feb. 15

— Chicago police say the two men are considered suspects.

— Chicago police release the two Nigerian brothers without charges, saying they have new evidence to check out as a result of questioning them. They give no details of the new evidence.

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Friday’s Scores

Middleton 3, Edgewood 1

Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc 5, Beloit Memorial 0

Marquette University 9, Milton 0

University School of Milwaukee 8, Waupun 1

West Bend 4, Homestead 3, OT

St. Croix Valley Fusion 4, Chippewa Falls/Menomonie 1

Metro Lynx 3, Viroqua 1

Fox Cities 9, Lakeshore Lightning 1

USM 1, Arrowhead 0

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Neighbors shocked by Aurora mass shooting

Aurora, Ill. (WREX) — Several neighbors say they are still trying to wrap their heads around the tragedy that unfolded in Aurora Friday afternoon.

“It’s really overwhelming and scary, especially when it’s right around the corner from home,” Christy Fonseca, who lives down the street from the Henry Pratt Manufacturing Company.

Stressful and terrifying, that’s how Fonseca says she felt as soon as she heard about an active shooter just feet from her home.

“All I kept think was the kids and the schools,” Fonseca says.

She also says she has kids in nearby elementary and high school schools, all of which were on lockdown.

“Scary, very scary, they kept calling me and letting me know they were on lockdown and everything was going to be okay and as soon as they heard word they were going to let everybody go home, my kids are home now,” she says.

Her mother, Margie Saldana, also lives in that area.

She tells 13 News she saw the police arrive on scene with their guns drawn heading toward the manufacturing company.

“I told my nephew, ‘We’re going on lockdown. Lock all the doors because they say they can’t find this guy,’” Saldana says.

She stayed there watching the news until she learned officers had the shooter in custody.

“All these cops coming from you know different cities,” Saldana says. “It was crazy.”

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Friday Night Nets – Feb. 15 Scores & Highlights

The high school basketball action is rising in intensity as the girls postseason rolls on and the boys regular season winds down.

Scores are organized by class and conference.

Class 4-A Girls Regional Finals

Boylan 61, Belvidere North 41

Class 3-A Girls Regional Finals

Rock Falls 53, Sycamore 47

NIC-10 Boys

East 71, Auburn 69

Hononegah 58, Freeport 43

Boylan 68, Belvidere 39

Guilford 62, Harlem 55

Belvidere North 42, Jefferson 39

Big Northern Boys

Dixon 58, Byron 34

Stillman Valley 74, Oregon 52

Genoa-Kingston 51, North Boone 36

Lutheran 56, Mendota 44


Stockton 58, Pearl City 36

Pecatonica 80, A-FC 69

Lena-Winslow 60, West Carroll 48

East Dubuque 64, Eastland 44

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